Brain Dump

The surgery did not go as planned.  The day, therefore, did not go as planned.  I’m numb.  I’m worried.  I’m scared… and I don’t get scared.  But, it could be worse.

I got a call from my Mom at noon.  She said they had to take more brain tissue than they had expected and it was wait and see when she woke up.  I was holding it together pretty good until my Mom said, “She knows you love her.”  Then I lost it, at my cubicle.  My boss came in and asked if I was OK… I wasn’t.  But I needed to be.  I told him I was going to lunch.  I called my friend Dianne.  I called Jim.  I called Renee.  I had to go to the hospital.  I couldn’t “wait and see” from afar anymore.  I went back to the office and checked out.

I got to the hospital and found out that the message Mom had gotten was a little bit off.  Turns out they got into her brain and couldn’t find the tumor.  The tumor that showed up on FOUR MRI’s… that showed up on THIS MORNING’s MRI.  There was brain tissue that was “discolored”  They took biopsy samples and we should know in a few days.  Radiation was mentioned.  Chemo was mentioned.  All of a sudden our “benign, most common brain tumor” isn’t that… but we don’t know what it is. 

She was moved to ICU and we were able to go in and see her.  At first she was looking around (still very groggy) and didn’t seem to be recognizing any of us.  I was determined that she couldn’t be “gone”.  She was in there somewhere.  After a few minutes (that seemed like hours) she started recognizing us.  She looked at me and said, “Why are you here?”  Since she isn’t ready yet to process everything that is going on I wanted her to think I just came by so I told her “I got bored at the office so I came over.”  She was speaking very softly, her mouth and lips were incredibly dry.  She would smile when Robert was mentioned.  She passed all of her initial cognition tests (follow my finger, count to 8, where are you?, what’s your name?) – that was a huge relief.

My uncle asked what time I needed to pick up Robert, I told him 6 but I had already arranged with Nancy to pick him up if needed.  She immediately shot me a look and said, “No, you get him!”  Always thinking of her little guy.

I left the hospital at 4.  The anesthesia should be worn off by now.  My uncle is staying at the hospital tonight.  He’s scared, he’s worried, he doesn’t want her to know he’s scared and worried.  He’s afraid she’ll wake up in the middle of the night in pain and need someone to hold her hand.  He’s held it for 46 years.

So, we’re at wait right now.  I hate wait.  I’m more of a “do” type of person.  Jim’s in Chicago so it’s making it hard for me to be as “available” as I would like to be.  If he was here I’d sleep in the ICU waiting room at night, or take the shift in her room tomorrow night so my uncle could go home… I know he still won’t sleep but at least he could “not sleep” in comfort.

I’m worried and wondering is this “the start”.  I’ve feared “the start” for years now.  My Mom is the only one of her siblings (she, Ann & Sue) who had children.  And I’m the only child left.  That leaves a mother, two aunts and two uncles who are all over 65 now.  There are five years between Mom and Sue.  I know that someday one of them will get sick and then it will be another, and then another.  And I’m definitely sandwich generation… I’ve got a three year old son and a seventy year old mother.  And I want to be able to care for them all.  And I wonder some days if that’s possible.  And I’m not ready for “the start”, so this needs to just be a blip. 

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